How do I get started? For a spring semester project, you should start planning during the fall semester. By late November you should discuss possible project topics with classmates, colleagues, and instructors and narrow down to at least two possible topics and ideally also form your team. Then contact the Senior Project coordinator, Profesor Dimitoglou, by email and let him know your your project topic(s) of interest and your project topic advisor if you have already arranged to work with a faculty member. Be sure to identify all of the team members and provide their email addresses.
How many credits is the Senior Project? It is a 3.0 credit course but the number of credits can be increased to accommodate larger and more ambitious projects.
Do I work on my project alone or in a team? The project must be carried out by teams of at least two students.
Is there faculty involvement with the senior project? Yes. Two faculty members are involved at all times. Upon project topic selection, a faculty director will be assigned to your team. This faculty member is responsible to ensure your project is meaningful, manageable and continues in the right direction throughout the semester. The second faculty member is the senior project coordinator who coordinates project “mechanics” (i.e. scheduling, resources etc).
I don't know what I should work on. How do I pick a project? There are a number of available topics listed on this site. You should also talk to faculty or come up with your own project if there is an area in computer science you would like to work on. Projects of interest to an employer are also acceptable and are encouraged.
How do I know my project is appropriate? When you identify a topic you send a topic proposal to the senior project coordinator to find out if the proposed project is: (a) appropriate, (b) requires any modifications or (c) inappropriate and you should propose a different project.
How do I get graded? At the end of the semester you will have to (a) present your project in a “formal” presentation (includes a demo) (b) submit the project deliverables (i.e. software, documentation etc) (c) create a poster. You will be graded on the timeliness, quality, and overall academic performance on the project. There are multiple rubrics (depending on the project) that would make measuring project performance clear. For example, the project milestones, specifications and deliverables are proposed by the student team and once approved will become part of the many grading criteria.
How much time am I expected to spend on the Senior Project? Each project will have specific milestones and deadlines to meet. The time investment varies according to team size, skill, number of credits and project topic. Both the project advisor and the senior project coordinator will make sure that you set goals that are manageable and can be accomplished within the semester. Remember, the student or team proposes the project specifications and milestones to the project advisor and the senior project coordinator. However, you should be aware that the philosophy behind the senior project is result-driven. You are evaluated on the quality of the project work, ‘product’, and presentation, not the number of hours spent on the project.
So, is the senior project just another semester-long programming project/paper? No! Absolutely not. The senior project is the culmination of your studies in computer science. It is not a programming assignment that you can do the night before. To provide an example of the required breadth, depth and rigor, past projects include a project which was accepted and presented in one of the largest and longest running academic conferences (CAINE 2007). Another project (o2d) has become an active sourceforge.net open-source project and other projects have been the “ticket” for students to get into graduate programs or to get the attention of employers.
What happens at the senior project presentation? You will present your project to a departmental faculty committee which will assess your project and assign a final grade. The presentation is open to the public and typically attended by other faculty and students (particularly juniors who will be doing their own project the next year). The President of the college and the Dean of the Faculty are invited and they also like to attend the presentations. So it not “just another presentation”…
What do I do next?